tv The Last Word MSNBC July 14, 2011 8:00pm-8:56pm EDT
at 5:43 p.m. washington time, the president concluded yet another meeting with the congressional leadership with no resolution of the problem at hand. the eric cantor problem. >> we're not going to raise the debt ceiling if we don't have cuts. >> eric cantor is now the man to blame for bringing us to the brink of economic catastrophe. >> are you the reason that there will not be an extension in the next few days? >> this is not a game. >> we don't want to raise taxes. >> he's not going to back down. >> let's play global thermonuclear war. >> no sign he's really willing to negotiate. >> now is not the time to play games. >> the clock is ticking. >> nevertheless, the clock is ticking. >> dire consequences. >> that is a bad scenario.
>> gloom and doom scenario. >> some are asking if cantor is hurting the debt talks. >> it was childish. >> called them childish. >> once wrote in his high school year book, quote, i want what i want when i want it. >> quote, he's all about eric. >> boehner and mcconnell are trying to lead a party that doesn't even understand the problem. >> even speaker boehner and minority leader mcconnell seem to understand -- >> we have been in this fight together. >> i think mitch mcconnell frankly has lost his mind. >> i think that we have plenty of money to service our debt. >> all those people are lying and you've got the truth? >> it's so horrible, there's no way they could be so stupid. >> now is not the time to retreat. it's the time to reload. >> and don't expect anything better from the republican presidential candidates. >> the balanced budget amendment. >> you don't care if we get downgraded? >> we won't. >> she hasn't done the math. >> this is how the earn the
title balloonhead. >> the president doesn't want to be confronted with priorities in spending because he has a lot of hutz pa. >> wow. >> the new show talking about federal budget negotiations, just cheap salacious viewer bait. >> good evening from new york. breaking news, president obama will hold a news conference from the brady briefing room at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, his second news conference in five days. the president met with democrat and republican leadership for a little over an hour today to continue to find a way to avert the worldwide economic catastrophe that is looming on august 2 if the president and congress have not agreed on a way to increase the debt limit of the united states government. before the meeting today, there was a flood of criticism of eric cantor's performance throughout these discussions, and including yesterday's meeting. >> house majority leader eric
cantor has shown he shouldn't even be at the table. and republicans agree shouldn't be at the table. one republican told politico last night, the hill publication, quote, he lost a lot of credibility when he walked away from the table. it was childish. end of quote. and he just walked out on the meetings, with the vice president of the united states. it was childish. another republican said cantor is putting himself first. he said this. quote, he's all about eric. end of quote. >> cantor, who caused trouble for john boehner, led a rebellion against john boehner, when the speaker returned from the negotiations with the white house over the july 4 weekend with a package of tax revenue increases that boehner was willing to consider. today, cantor desperately tried to tie himself to boehner in an attempt to restore some shred of credibility. >> the speaker and i have
consistently been on the same page. and leader reid is i imagine frustrated as we all are, and the fact is we are going to abide by our principles. and that's how it is. and i'm sure the speaker joins me in that. >> so what does boehner do when the guy who tried to stab him in the back reaches out for his help? boehner did what all smart politicians do. you especially do it with a colleague who has tried to stab you in the back in the past. boehner publicly stepped up. >> that's how it is. i'm sure the speaker joins me in that. >> let me just say we have been in this fight together. and any suggestion that the role that eric has played in this meeting has been anything but helpful is just wrong. listen, we're in the fox hole. and i'm going to tell you what. this is not easy. >> and with that embrace, and
that lie, about cantor being helpful in the negotiations, john boehner now owns eric cantor. jay carney pointed out today how absurdly politicized the debt ceiling has become, something that previously had always been a routine vote. >> collectively, the republican negotiators in this room with the president have voted to raise the debt limit 25 times. speaker of the house has voted six times. the majority leader of the house has voted to raise it six times. senator kyl six times. >> reports of today's meeting indicate that no progress was made, that republican senate leader mitch mcconnell's plan for a three-vote plan to raise the debt ceiling over three months was not even discussed. and by all accounts, eric cantor did not say a word.
there is no meeting scheduled for tomorrow, but the president has scheduled a press conference. as the clock runs out, the president's hand only strengthens. wall street has instructed the republican leadership that they must raise the debt ceiling by august 2. something mcconnell and boehner already knew. and as the negotiating sessions become less productive, it actually increases the chances that the president will get his original wish, a wish that no one seems to remember anymore, a simple clean bill, that does nothing, nothing, other than raise the debt ceiling. a bill that does not impose draconian spending puts in medicare and other programs that democrats cherish, and a bill that does not include any increase in tax revenues that republicans oppose so relentlessly and irrationally. if congress does try to force something on the president that
he does not like, he has plenty of time left to veto it and force the congress to go back to work. in fact, with the debt ceiling increase, the president can veto it at sunset on august 1 with default looming at midnight, and the congress will still have time to pass a clean debt ceiling bill at the last minute in order to avoid default. something the congress knows how to do and has done many, many times in the past at the last minute. in fact, it's been traditional to wait until the very last minute to try to pass debt ceiling increases, because as everyone used to understand in the congress, the debt ceiling increase is what they used to call a must pass bill. no one can tamper with it. they can vote against it, as long as, and you heard senator
durbin explain this on this show the other night, you can vote against it, as long as, as durbin put it, you're looking over your shoulder and making sure they have enough votes to pass it. the congress has frequently taken up the debt ceiling at the last minute. the night before default would hit, specifically in order to force members to just shut up and vote. to not use any delaying tactics, no filibustering, no attempts to amend the debt ceiling. in fact, when i was running the staff of the senate finance committee, we wrote and passed debt ceiling increases with ease. here's a typical one right here. that i did. it's one sentence long. this is the entire debt ceiling increase bill. it is one page. the one sentence simply says, that this is to raise the -- let's see -- this was a temporary one, so it has a
little extra wording in it. during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this act and ending on september 30, 1993, the public debt set forth in subsection b of section 3101 shall be temporarily increased to $4 trillion, 370 billion. those are the days. $4 trillion debt. it was a temporary debt increase. the second debt increase that i had to do to back up when this temporary one ran out, was this one. ok? a little bigger. this is the reconciliation act of 1993. it's got a lot of stuff in it. in fact, it has funding for the entire federal government in here. here, tucked in here on page 254, is the debt ceiling increase. it is one sentence. just one sentence.
there's a lot of other work i'm proud of in this bill, like the biggest tax increase in history. the only tax increase that i got to do during my time at the senate finance committee. if you're only going to get to do one tax increase in your life, it might as well be the biggest. this bill also includes spending provisions for the entire federal government. so that took more than half of these pages. and it is worth noting at this time that in this bill are a couple of hundred billion dollars in medicare and medicaid cuts that were proposed and supported by president bill clinton, written into law by a democratic congress and passed, with democrat votes only. the biggest cuts ever enacted in medicare at that time. that was the very first thing that democratic president bill
clinton did with medicare. actually cut it. to no objections, none, not one word of objection from liberals at that time about cutting medicare. not one person who has attacked president obama from the left for even discussing medicare cuts objected to the clinton medicare cuts, which were supported by every liberal in the united states house of representatives and the united states senate. now i don't know where the newly appointed protectors of medicare were at the time. it was the middle of the summer. they might have all been at baseball games. but the president didn't hear from one of them. not from one of them. what barack obama has heard from so many about betraying their trust. by discussing medicare cuts.
you know the rest of this story. this bill passed. medicare continued to be the best government-run health insurance program in the world. the biggest tax increase in history did not cripple the economy, as every republican insisted that it would. bill clinton took ownership of the economy with this bill. and the economy soared to new heights, especially for the rich, the very rich, the super rich, the ultrarich. they all got richer and richer and richer. living under that horrible clinton 39% top income tax bracket. but i digress. the debt ceiling in this bill, which we slipped in here on page 254, where we wanted it to be, pretty hard to find. in fact, it was so hard to find it took me most of the day today
to find where i had put it in this bill back in 1993. it simply says, as all debt ceiling increases before it have said, with variations on the number at the end, subsection b of section 3101 of title 31, united states code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $4,900,000,000. i can't tell you how thrilled we were to keep the debt limit under $5 trillion, about 1/3 of where it is now. that's all a debt ceiling increase is. it's one sentence. so the president can hang tough on the debt ceiling right up until literally the 11th hour. he could veto a debt ceiling bill at 11:00 p.m. on august 1,
and the congress would still have time to pass a clean bill, a clean debt ceiling bill, before midnight. the president could write it himself. he could hand write it if he wanted to. he could just take one that we've written before, use the same w0rds. just take the last one that was passed just last year. here it is, right here. all you have to do is change five digits. change the 14,294 to 16,700. that's it. you're done. that's the bill. the house and the senate can vote for it by voice vote in less than 10 minutes. that's how far the president can take this if he really wants to put the congress' back to the wall, as the clock continues to tick down.
as the republican retreat in disarray demonstrates the president's power only increases. joining me now is richard wolf, msnbc political analyst and author of "renegade: the making of a president." richard, as we've heard, the president has scheduled a news conference tomorrow. no working session of the group. that doesn't sound like it's going to be a particularly good day for the republicans. when he gets out there on the news conference stage on this subject, things don't go well for them. >> no. and he's told them to go back to their caucuses and figure out what they can do with this deal that he wants. he said he wanted the biggest deal possible. he still made that presentation today. i understand that tim geithner and his chief economist, gene sperling, and jack lou were making one more big push for the big cuts republicans say they want. if they turn their back on those big cuts, the president is in
the strongest position to say they are not living up to their principles. >> and there is no chance of them accepting any kind of big deal at all because the president is insisting that there be tax revenue increases in there. so the president knows that he is pushing something that they absolutely cannot agree to. so at this point, what the president does seem to be doing is what you just said, is making his position appear to be the one who wants to do the big move on deficit reduction, and forcing these republicans to back away from big deficit reduction, thereby, he hopes, neutralizing deficit reduction as an issue against him in the presidential campaign. >> well, look, he's talked about deficit reduction all the way through. but remember, it's not just his position here. it's 2/3 of the american public. we have a slew of polls here saying that 2/3 of the american people want to see some combination of taxes and spending cuts to get this deal done and put the federal budget
on the right track. that is not just a matter of politics. that's if the republican party is serious about its own survival, they read those same polls. >> nancy pelosi seems to be having fun with this tactic too, she has come out saying she is for the big giant $4 billion package too, knowing that she couldn't possibly get the votes on the spending cuts side of that in the house of representatives. richard wolffe, thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> you bet, lawrence. coming up, jon stuart cannot help himself. he can't help but make gay jokes about michele bachmann's husband. so he needs a therapist to help him pray away the gay jokes. that therapist is jerry seinfeld. and when eric cantor says he will never vote for a tax increase of any kind, he is forgetting one little thing about his own record on taxes. luckily for him, and the
political media has also forgotten it too. but i'll be reminding him and the political media of the day eric cantor voted to raise income taxes. that's in my "rewrite" tonight. in financial transactions... on devices... in social interactions... and applications in the cloud. some companies are worried. some, not so much. thanks to a network that secures it all and knows what to keep in, and what to keep out. outsmart the threats. see how at cisco.com cisco. the 3.6-liter pentastar v6 engine in the jeep grand cherokee has a best in class driving range of more than 500 miles per tank. which means you don't have to worry about finding a gas station. which is good...
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if republicans do not get their way and fail to raise the debt ceiling, president obama would be forced to pick which of the roughly 80 million monthly payments the treasury pays and does not pay. according to an independent report led by jay powell, a republican former treasury official, in august the u.s. has an estimated $306 billion in payment obligations but would only take in $172 billion in revenue, leaving $134 billion shortfall for the month of august. in other words, president obama would immediately have to cut 44% of federal spending. as "the washington post" points out, through august, the government could afford social security, medicare, medicaid, defense contracts, unemployment insurance, and payments to bondholders. but then it would have to
eliminate all other federal spending, including pay for veterans for members of the armed services, civil servants, as well as funding for pell grants, special education programs, the federal courts, law enforcement, the fbi. what do they do, close it down? national nuclear programs. housing assistance. it goes on and on. and this is to say nothing of the impact on global financial markets. >> i think it would be a calamb to us outcome, create a financial shock that would affect not only the u.s. economy but the global economy. we would destroy the trust and confidence that global investors have in u.s. treasury securities as the safest and most liquid assets in the world. >> joining me now, ezra klein. thank you for joining me tonight, ezra. >> good evening.
>> this report gives lie to this crazy republican notion that has been going around, michele bachmann and the others saying they would be fine, they just wouldn't pay the stuff we don't need, they could pay the social security, the military, be able to pay for the interest on the debt, the bonds, all that stuff, be able to pay for everything that matters. this is a completely untenable position with this study. >> the danger of the debt ceiling is not theory. it's arithmetic. you mentioned earlier it's $134 billion. that is 10% of the august gdp. you cut out 10% of america's gdp for that month. if you do that over any period of time, if it's an instant recession, you shave off 10% of the nation's economy. that doesn't even get into the uncertainty, the fact that every other or almost every other debt instrument, credit cards, mortgages, corporate debt, would jump up because they are all based on treasury debt. the damage to the economy is not on a scale that we're frankly even prepared to calculate. >> and this is all based on
estimations of what the income to the federal government is going to be. there is some late tax filers that tend to come in around now, that they are expecting to come in in early august. but they never really know how much money is going to come in in the first week of august. >> the secretary does not get on the floor of his office and spread out 80 million different checks and decide which ones to pay and which ones not and how much is coming in and how much isn't. it's all programmed into computers, it's all automatic. nobody actually knows. this is the scary part. nobody knows how you would stop paying certain things and not others. there's no program where you just check and uncheck boxes. aside from everything else, you would have an enormous amount of uncertainty as to how we could do it and who would be paid and who wouldn't be. a much larger group unsure of
being paid would begin to stop putting out money. and what we call that is a recession. >> whitey bulger is supposed to be on trial. i guess he is not a federal case. but federal courts around the country, what happens if there's no money to pay the clerks, the judges, everything that goes on in a federal courthouse? >> we really -- it's amazing, we really don't know. as you know, lawrence, in federal shutdowns, there is legislation governing who stays on and who doesn't. it's people who are vital to national security, vital to protecting people. we don't have legislation like that for a debt default. it isn't clear what would be legal and what isn't. it isn't even clear. let's say you're a member of the fbi. you don't want to go home because your work is vital to the nation and you assume you'll get paid eventually. it's not clear you can keep coming to work lawfully. >> thank you for joining me tonight, ezra. coming up, the person who did the ads for senator ted kennedy nearly 20 years ago knew exact lee how to hit mitt
romney, a devastating anti-romney ad that never aired is coming up. and jon stewart has to bring in an expert to help him pray the gay jokes away. naturals from purina cat chow. delicious, real ingredients with no artificial flavors or preservatives. naturals from purina cat chow. share a better life.
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stop mitt romney cold in his first political campaign. one of teddy kennedy's anti-romney ads is coming up. and the one encounter i've had with eric cantor, i actually got him to do what the white house couldn't get him to do. i got him to talk about raising taxes. i'll show you the video in "the rewrite." [ male announcer ] introducing the ultimate business phone -- the motorola expert from sprint. its powerful tools help you work faster and smarter so you can get back to playing "angry birds." it lets you access business forms on the go, fire off e-mails with the qwerty keypad, and work securely around the world so you can get back to playing "angry birds." it's the android-powered phone
woi my work allowed me to help other businesses from start-ups to large companies that were going through tough times. sometimes i was successful and we were able to create job. other times i wasn't. >> yeah, sometimes he wasn't. in the spotlight tonight, mitt romney says his business background at investment company bain capital prepared him to rescue the economy, despite bain's involvement in mass layoffs. democrats are already preparing to use that against him, just as ted kennedy's campaign did in 1994, when romney ran for senate in massachusetts. today, politico posted a kennedy
ad that never aired attacking romney's record at the consulting firm bain & company. >> mitt romney says he caved bain & company. but he didn't tell you that when he took over he had his assistant fire hundreds of people. or that he took a $10 million federal bailout. the rest of us had to absorb the loss. ro romney and others made $4 million in the deal, which cost ordinary people $10 million. >> joining me now is dana milbank, national political reporter for "the washington post." dana, that is the campaign against mitt romney, if he makes it to the nomination. but will republicans -- will any republican be able to exploit that kind of thing against him in a primary fight? >> i don't see why not. i mean, and the only reason this ad wasn't used is because mitt
romney had already been wiped out by other ads pointing to other deals at bain that had gone sour in the first place. it seemed this would be applicable for republicans to come at as well. look, mitt romney may well have been a good businessman. that doesn't mean he was a good job creator, which of course is the flaw in the argument that we're hearing here, that just cut corporate taxes and regulations and businesses will create jobs. they are already sitting on record levels of profits. they are just not right now turning it into jobs. >> and we have seen michele bachmann surge ahead of romney. sarah palin loves to continue to undermine the field. not just romney. she said last night on fox news that maybe she would continue to think about this, make a decision, oh, you know, maybe at the end of the summer. listen to this. >> now i'm not holy confident
that we have that field set yet, that that one individual that is in the field. so i'm still thinking about being one that would offer myself up in the name of service, knowing confidently that i have those common sense, fiscally conservative pro private sector policy experience and ideas that can be put to good work for this country. >> now, in the polls that show michele bachmann at the top in iowa, she is trailing tim pawlenty. she is running like fifth, fifth, in those polls. how much longer can "hannity & company" play the charade that this is a credible discussion? >> lawrence, you called this months ago. obviously, it's going to turn out the way you said. but i think we can all engage in a little guilty pleasure of toying with the possibility of palin. but, look, it's the same as it ever was. she's not raising the money or getting the people behind her. everybody else has moved on.
sarah palin just wants to, you know, get a little bit of that spotlight a couple more months. >> and my belief is that she is smart enough a politician to read those polls and know exactly what they mean. i think she finishes those bits with hannity and walks off the set going, i can't believe they're still letting me do this here. >> this isn't about votes. it's about speaking fees. >> right. it's about keeping that bubble in the air. >> exactly. >> is there something to watch in romney going forward? does he need to try to start building in a defense on this job creator versus job killer? >> how does he do it? you know, the dispute is whether he was 47th out of 50 or 49th out of 50 when he was governor. look, of course that's unfair as based on policies that happened before he was in office. but that's the same thing that can be said of obama, that he is being saddled with what was given to him by the president before him. so obama is stuck with that economy. but romney is stuck with his economy too.
>> dana milbank. thank you for joining me tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. obama and the debt talks. and how i proved on this network 2 1/2 years ago that eric cantor is the worst person to represent the republicans in presidential negotiations. that's next. and later, jon stewart takes on marcus bachmann and his clinic's practice of praying the gay away. this is a segment you will not want to miss. >> ( rooster crows ) >> by 2020, 50 billion network devices will roam the earth. that's seven devices per person. this will change how we work in ways we've never before imagined. what do you need to secure your people, their devices, and your business? a network that can evolve and grow
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he famously walked out of those negotiations a few weeks ago when the vice president wanted to discuss tax revenue that could be included in a deficit reduction package. now, you cannot get tougher than that about tax increases, refusing to even discuss them. and as you know what the white house wanted to discuss was not an increase in tax rates, but simply a proper enforcement of current tax law, and adjustments in such a way that would come close some egregious loopholes and bring corporations and very, very rich tax filers closer to what could be described as paying their fair share of tacks. john boehner was willing to at least discuss raising tax revenue that way. but he has always been unwilling to discuss raising tax rates. john boehner has been flawlessly consistent in his opposition to raising tax rates.
boehner has never met a tax rate increase he didn't hate. but eric cantor's history is not so consistent. let's take a look at my one and only encounter with congressman cantor on "morning joe" almost 2 1/2 years ago when i had one simple question for him. how was he going to vote on a tax rate increase being brought to a vote that day in the house by charlie rangel? now, let's remember that the republicans remain staunchly opposed to raising the top income tax rate from the bush level of 35 to the clinton level of 39. that 4% increase, they fight with all the strength that that party has. what charlie rangel was calling for that day was not for a top income tax rate of 39% but a top income tax rate of 90 -- yes, that's 9-0 -- 90% on bonus
income paid in any of the companies that took assistance in the federal government's bailout of wall street, the so-called tarp fund. my simple question to eric cantor that day is how are you going to vote on a 90% top income tax rate on some taxpayers. >> have you and your republican colleagues finally found a tax increase that you can love? are you going to vote for the tax seizure bill that the house of representatives is going to vote on today to seize those bonuses back -- >> which, by the way, just for the record, side bar here, counselor, that will not be sustained by the supreme court. but go ahead. >> i said that yesterday. but what i want to know, congressman contrar -- >> it's unconstitutional. >> if you're opposed to these bonuses, have you finally found a tax increase that you like?
how would you get that money back? >> i'm for whatever we can do to get that money back into the treasury. >> there's a vote today. are you going to vote for it today? >> well, we've got two bills coming to the floor today. there's the one in congress that says we ought to take a look at all of this. >> do you not know how you're going to vote on charlie rangel's tax bill today? >> it is terrible tax policy, but i'm telling you one thing. i want to get those bonus payments back in. >> i think i heard a no. was that a no? >> i'm going to get those bonus payments back in, because -- >> how are you going to do it? how are you going to get that money back? >> first of all, there was an announcement of a bill yesterday which directs treasure secretary geithner to come out with how he's going to get it back in. how in the world -- >> you're going to say, tim, could you please get it back? i don't know how. could you please do it? >> we all know that he approved the second round of the tarp money that went to pay these
bonuses. >> you're saying we have no idea how to get the money back. we will ask the treasurer to get that back. you're not going to vote -- >> i'm not saying that. >> there you go. i got him to do what the vice president couldn't get him to do, raising taxes. this went on and on, and i got a lot of fun, but i never got an answer. what i did do is established to my satisfaction, and it should have been to the satisfaction of anyone watching, that i was dealing with the worst amateur who had ever ascended to a leadership position in congress. a member of the leadership who actually did not know how he was going to vote on a bill involving a matter of party principle, and that vote was only a couple of hours away. when the role wl was called in house, there were 328 yays. it passed overwhelmingly, including yays by virtually all
of the democrats, and almost half of the republicans. 85 republicans were for it. 87 against it. the republican leader, john boehner, voted against it, of course. because it was a tax rate increase. and not just a tax rate increase. a compensatory tax increase, a seizure of income, a 90% income tax. a republican's worst nightmare. it was hard for john boehner. it was not hard for john boehner to decide how to vote on that. eric cantor, that's right, eric cantor voted for it. eric cantor voted for a 90% income tax increase. he voted with dennis kucinich. he voted with charlie rangel on a tax rate increase. the thing he is now claiming is
the single most destructive thing congress can possibly do, increase taxes. john boehner had been dealing with eric cantor for a while before i got to deal with eric cantor for a few minutes that day. so boehner knew what i just discovered that morning, that cantor was an incompetent amateur who deserved noplace in congressional leadership. cantor has proven himself to be exactly that in the budget negotiations with the president. the president has obviously recognized from the start that a rank amateur was sitting across the table from him, and the president has played cantor's childish reactions to the democrats' full advantage. the next time you hear eric cantor lying about all tax increases being harmful to the economy, and downright evil, always remember this. >> congressman cantor, if you're
opposed to these bonuses, have you finally found a tax increase you can like? >> i am for whatever we can do to get that tax money back to the treasure rye. >> there's a vote today. are you going to vote for it today? >> we have two bills coming to the floor today. there's one that says we ought to take a look at all of this. >> i just want to know how you're going to vote, one vote. >> he's going to vote for it. read between the lines. read between the lines. >> he's not saying that. [ male announcer ] members of the american postal workers union handle more than 165 billion letters and packages a year. that's about 34 million pounds of mail every day. ever wonder what this costs you as a taxpayer? millions? tens of millions? hundreds of millions? not a single cent. the united states postal service doesn't run on your tax dollars. it's funded solely by stamps and postage.
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here is the big issue. the president doesn't want to have to be confronted with priorities in spending, because he has a lot of hutzpah. he spent $1 trillion on the stimulus. it failed. >> he has a lot of what? while praying away the gay, the bachmanns want to devote more prayer time like praying for divine guidance in the pronunciation of yiddish words. praying away the gay is wicked hot. and for comedians, staying away from praying away the day might just be even harder to do. here's last night's "daily show" where jon stewart tries manfully to resist the urge to do gay jokes about the congresswoman's
husband, marcus bachmann, but jon realizes he is powerless in the face of this urge, and calls on a higher power, mr. jerry seinfeld. >> we haven't yet heard from the man himself, dr. bachmann. seen here dancing with his wife at a tea party -- wait, i'm sorry. wait a minute. can we just come back here? that's michele bachmann's husband. that -- that's the -- that's the guy teaching people not to be gay. [ laughter ] >> seriously. is he -- is that the guy -